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Juan Gimenez, 1943-2020

Heavy Metal is saddened to report that frequent contributor Juan Giménez has passed away at the age of 76. He contracted the COVID-19 virus, checked into a hospital in Argentina on March 22, and died on April 2.

Metabarons art by Juan Gimenez

Born on November 26th, 1943 in Mendoza, Argentina, Giménez finished high school as an industrial design major and attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Barcelona, Spain, where he dedicated himself to be an illustrator. He went onto contribute to local magazines such as Zona 84 and Comix International. By then, he had earned a reputation for his exceptional detail of machinery as well as renderings of science fiction characters and concepts. In 1979, he published his first Leo Roa story in France, making his mark on that all-important scene. And in 1980, he served as a creative designer on the “Harry Canyon” segment of the Heavy Metal (1981) film. For years he continued to have his work showcased in comic magazines and anthologies, including Metal Hurlant, the Spanish-language edition of Warren Publishing’s 1984, and the Italian L’Eternauta.

Gimenez made his Heavy Metal magazine debut in our April 1981 issue, with a black-and-white story “Good-Bye, Soldier!,” written by Ricardo Barreiro. He published numerous installments of his “Matter of Time” series, beginning in August 1983. Other Gimenez stories that followed included “The Sleeping Princess” (August 1985), “Top Secret” (September 1985), “Timescooter” (October 1985), “Primabell” (Fall 1986), “Garbage” (with Carlos Trillo, Spting 1987), “The Naked Branch” (with Felipe Hernandez Cava, Summer 1988), “Leo Roa” (March 1989), “The Fourth Quarter” (January 1990), and “Apocalypse: Eyes of Doom” (July 1993, later collected in a hardcover edition). Beginning in July 1997, Heavy Metal serialized Gimenez’s “Choose Your Game,” which played out over several issues.

Cover of The Metabarons #1

In 1992, Gimenez met the writer and film director Alejandro Jodorowsky. The two would go on to collaborate on one of the most seminal science fiction sagas ever, The Metabarons – creating an instant classic which continues to sell successfully around the world. In July 1995, Heavy Metal published the chapter “The Saga of the Meta-Barons: Othon the Great.” The Metabarons, along with the rest of the Jodoverse stories, has been published in various formats by Humanoids.

Gimenez created some of the most captivating illustrations to grace the medium and we are blessed to have had a talent such as his contribute to the magazine and to the field itself. His work is breathtaking, full of ideas, vigor, imagination and beauty. In other words, it’s simply unforgettable. He will be greatly missed, but his works live on.

It’s time to visit them again.

From ‘A Matter of Time,’ Heavy Metal, August 1983
From ‘A Matter of Time,’ Heavy Metal, October 1984
From ‘Garbage,’ written by Carlos Trillo, Heavy Metal, Spring 1987
From ‘The Saga of the Meta-Barons: Othon the Great,’ July 1995
From ‘Choose Your Game,’ July 1999

9 thoughts on “Juan Gimenez, 1943-2020

  1. Though surrounded by the enormous talents of his peers, the likes of Moebius, Bilal, Druillet etc – it was the work of Gimenez that convinced me to buy my first ever copy of heavy Metal as a kid.

    It wasn’t enough – I sought out every story I could find whether it was available in English or not, I had to have everything.

    I doubt that most people will probably understand the huge influence he’s had on SO many creatives all over the world, not just comic artists, but concept designers, film directors and more.

    He left an astonishing mark on us all and he NEVER lost his edge, just brilliant to the very end.

    An imaginative giant. Another of the greats has passed.

    PB

  2. … Juan Gimenez’s contribution to comics is equivalent to that of Richard Corben, both revolutionized the ways of narrating and added color not as a necessary nuisance but as an identifying element of their own, an obviously artistic brand mark. See you soon!…

  3. This is really sad news. I have been an avid reader of HM since the 70’s. Bought it whenever I could. Specially when I was stationed overseas during my 23 years in the US NAVY. Hate to say it but I actually do not remember any of Juan Gimenez’ work in HM. Now I’ll have to do some research and look up some of his stories . Really sad day.

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